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The Role of Economic Policy in Social Security Reform: Perspectives from the President's Commission

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  • John F. Cogan
  • Olivia S. Mitchell

Abstract

Recently we were asked to serve on the President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security (CSSS) along with 14 other members drawn equally from both major political parties. The Commission's charge was to provide recommendations to modernize the Social Security system, restore its fiscal soundness, and develop a workable system of Personal Retirement Accounts. This paper explains how the Commission arrived at some of its recommendations and the role that economics played in contributing to these recommendations. We describe the key institutional constraints confronting efforts to reform Social Security and how these constraints influenced Commission decisions. We also illustrate how economics research influenced the Commission's analysis of how to structure personal accounts, ways to enhance traditional Social Security program finances, and means of measuring the extent of financial progress achieved through reform.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9166.

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Date of creation: Sep 2002
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Publication status: published as Cogan, John F. and Olivia S. Mitchell. "Perspectives From The President's Commission On Social Security Reform," Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2003, v17(2,Spring), 149-172.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9166

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  1. Zvi Bodie, 2001. "Financial Engineering and Social Security Reform," NBER Chapters, in: Risk Aspects of Investment-Based Social Security Reform, pages 291-320 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Engelhardt, Gary V. & Kumar, Anil, 2005. "Social security personal-account participation with government matching," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(02), pages 155-179, July.
  2. Olivia S. Mitchell & Alexander Muermann, 2003. "The Demand for Guarantees in Social Security Personal Retirement Accounts," Working Papers, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center wp060, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  3. Cassio M. Turra & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2004. "The Impact of Health Status and Out-of-Pocket Medical Expenditures on Annuity Valuation," Working Papers, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center wp086, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.

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